How to Plant Grass in Southeastern Hard Red Clay


The southeastern United States has varying soil conditions, but one of the most troublesome is red clay. This soil type is not hospitable for gardening and lawns, and it takes extra care and work if you want to have a beautiful lawn. If you have hard red clay in your yard, you can do a few things to help grow grass and improve the quality of the soil.

Step 1

Test the soil for its pH level, using a pH test kit. It must be at least 6.0 for good grass growth. Add fertilizer to increase the level.

Step 2

Till the soil with the tiller and mix in topsoil, organic matter and sand. This will help with the compaction problem of red clay, as well as add nutrients. The sand will help prevent compaction.

Step 3

Level soil back out with a rake and spread grass seed.

Step 4

Spread straw over the top to keep the seeds from washing away.

Step 5

Water the lawn in the mornings and keep the soil damp to help with germination.

Things You'll Need

  • Soil test kit
  • Fertilizer
  • Tiller
  • Topsoil
  • Organic matter
  • Sand
  • Rake
  • Seed spreader (optional)
  • Straw


  • North Carolina Cooperative Extension: Dealing With Red Clay
  • University of Georgia Extension: Fighting Soil Compaction
  • Bermuda Grass
Keywords: red clay planting, red clay grass, Southeastern red clay